Patient Culture and Communication

Patient Culture and Communication


Every day in different healthcare facilities, nurses care for patients from diverse linguistic and cultural settings. That requires nurses to take care of their patients by seeing them as unique individuals. But at the same time, they must consider the cultural component when offering services. Caregivers should communicate more effectively with patients from all cultures.

Where culture comes to play, effective communication allows nurses to understand a patient’s needs to offer optimal care. People are different, and so are their cultural roots. That difference can create various obstacles in interactions. Nurses must communicate with their patients in ways that they will understand and do not feel displeased with things like speed of delivery or confuse the laid down standards for loudness.

For nurse patient-communication to be effective, nurses should consider the basics. Here is how they can enhance cross-cultural communication and offer better patient care.

  1. Use common and simple words

Medical terminologies can be complex. In such instances, you should use a language that is clear, non-threatening, and simple. At the same time, stay honest and true. Base your language on the questions the patient puts to you and their ability to interpret your answers. Always be ready to repeat yourself and express all concepts in different ways to ensure your patients understand your message.

  1. Speak slowly or at a measured pace

When you speak too quickly, this can prevent patients from following what you are saying or the conversation in general. Also, it can disrupt the questions they are trying to ask you. Speak at an appropriate or measured pace to make the conversation more engaging. Your listener will have lots of time to process what you are saying if you speak at a pace applicable to them.

  1. Be culturally sensitive

There is always a huge cultural difference in healthcare. As a nurse, you should be culturally sensitive when talking to your patients. In other words, understand that you are dealing with people who have cultural practices and beliefs that are unfamiliar or dissimilar to yours. Regardless of what they believe, always adhere to autonomy. Respect your patient’s right to make a decision, even if it conflicts with your beliefs or morals.

  1. Base your communication strategies on a patient’s beliefs

In the healthcare setting, culture and communication can be challenging to handle, especially when a patient’s beliefs clash with a nurse. For many cultures, how you communicate to somebody is as essential as the words you choose or say. Direct eye contact, for example, can come out as aggressive or impolite in Arab cultures. To overcome this challenge, base your communication strategies on your patient’s cultural systems of beliefs. Hispanics will look down as a sign of respect. You, too, should do the same.


Navigating the needs of cultural diversity in nursing can be unnerving. It is easy to offend a patient without knowing their cultural system of beliefs or practice. Overcome such challenges by being aware of your cultural identifications. That will enable you to control your personal biases which may interfere with the quality of care you give to your patients. Also, practice cultural sensitivity by asking questions whenever in doubt.


I am Dr. Marion Johnson, a Nurse Supervisor, Educator, and A clinician with a Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree (DNP) and a Master of Science in Nursing Degree (MSN) both from Walden University. I have worked as a nurse in the healthcare industry for over 15 years. Presently, I am doing something I love most, which is being an online instructor. In this position, I believe I can learn, educate, create and implement positive input into the nursing field. Besides work, I am also an avid reader of nursing journals and articles that is why I have a passion for reading, learning and sharing on the trending topics in the nursing arena.

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